Julia Vysotska


Original Problems, Julia’s Fairies – 2015 (I): January – June

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No.789 by Julia Vysotska –  Neutral King as a thematic piece in Back-to-Back play! (JV)


Back-To-Back: When pieces of opposite colors stand back-to-back with each other on the same file (white piece is on the top of black!), they exchange their roles. A pawn on the first rank cannot move. Any piece can make an en passant capture when it has got a role of Pawn by Back-To-Back.

Nightrider(N): (1,2) Rider. Operates along straight lines with squares lying a Knight’s move away from each other.

No.789 Julia Vysotska

original – 02.05.2015

Solutions: (click to show/hide)

White Bh3 Sf6 Black NF4 Pf5 Pc4 Neutral Kh1

hs#4,5          b) Nf4→g7       (2+3+1)
Nightrider f4

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Petko Petkov
Petko Petkov
5 years ago

To No.789 – Julia Vysotska.
Another wonderful problem of Julia, which demonstrates (her favorite?) fairy condition Back-to-Back (BTB) with a main thematic figure – Neutral King. The construction is great – a miniature with only 6 pieces! The content is very interesting, detailed and instructive are also author’s comments. Congratulations, Julia!
Yet, I believe that the author’s comment would be better to be supplemented by one more important feature. Since apparently there is no full thematic analogy between the two solutions. The problem in my opinion belongs to the so-called type “ANI” – which is often found in the contemporary compositions. Many such examples – problems by famous authors – you can find also in “Julia’s Fairies”!
In particular – in No.789 the play of the neutral king is only partially identical in thematical attitude – the King’s activity in both phases has a different “geometry” in both phases. But in my opinion it is not a minus of the problem but on the contrary – a plus which provides greater diversity and greater difficulty of the solutions! Therefore, I approve (as a form of the future!) the type “ANI” where the content is only partially identical, but the two phases present rich contents – synthesis of main and additional thematic components which creates a sense of strategic completeness and beauty.
And another small note – the move 4…Ne3 in my opinion is not block-move but a move which closes the diagonal a7-g1. In the final position Ne3 has no block-function!
(“ANI” means anti-identical solutions where there is a full thematical contrast between the phases or only partial contrast between them. The term “ANI” was firstly proposed in my article dedicated to problems with anti-identical solutions: ” ANI AUFGABEN – EIN NEUER WEG!?” (in German) published in the magazine Feenschah, No.152 / September, 2003. This article was dedicated to Bernd Ellinghoven in occasion of his jubileum 50th Birthday! I plan to publish this article again in English in the near future.)

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
5 years ago

With the BackToBack condition, the MOST EXPECTED and simple mates are such Pawn-mates, as clearly shown by G. Foster’s No.758, on this site.
That’s exactly opposite to “paradoxical”.

However, there’s the point. In No.758, White WILLINGLY mates Black by moving nK into the BTB position with the Pawn.
Julia has created the complexity and depth by FORCING Black to mate White by such moves.
wS/wB reciprocally cooperate, one piece checks Black but also gives its moving ability to nK. This nK’s temporary ability is controlled by the other piece, leaving only one flight-square, back to back with bP.

The unique order of moves is achieved, and the cooks disabled, by putting bN on the board.
bN’s functions in the solutions do not justify this fairy piece, especially because it even can’t move to its target squares without the twinning.
Additionally, due to that bN, bPc4 had to be added and the beauty of the idea was spoiled considerably in the realization.

Something should be done about bN & bPc4, that’s of course, only my opinion.

Geoff Foster
Geoff Foster
5 years ago

In the first mate the bN guards h6, while in the second mate it guards d5. However if the two white pieces were neutral then this would not be necessary, because the nSg8 would guard h6 and the nBa8 would guard d5. Is it possible to create such a problem? If so it could be much shorter than 4,5 moves.

Geoff Foster
Geoff Foster
5 years ago

Sorry, my idea doesn’t work. For example, with nSg8 and nKg7, Black could escape check by moving the nS.

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
5 years ago

Julia, 90% of the power and depth of your idea is in the last white move, when the relations among wS, wB and nK create a complex use of BTB.
And the reciprocity of white pieces in two phases, multiplies the complexity of the problem in its wholeness.

Single BTB effects in the introductory play are just the simple ornamental tools to lead the pieces to the proper squares before the magnificent moment will come.
There are surely many difficulties to do it correctly, but thematically, it is a simple and not original play. Especially due to the minor role of wS, when compared to wB.

Nightrider guards one flight and in b) it also closes a line. An orthodox bS could do that as well. The only potential difference would be the Nightrider’s ability to reach both a white or a black square in one move from the same initial place.
But the twinning shows that bN is even not needed for that reason.
Technical bPc4 is perhaps not much by itself, but it’s needed only because of bN. Get rid of bN and that Pawn would be spared automatically.

You have skilfully used bN for technical reasons but that’s not enough to include it in the “family”.
The example retains the main content and I don’t see that anything original and complex is lost, which might be worth that Nightrider.
White Sf6 Bf3; Black Pf5 Sg4; Neutral Ke1
Stipulation Hs#4,5; Condition BackToBack; b) nKe1- f1

Nikola Predrag
Nikola Predrag
5 years ago

Yes, each one of the finals is interesting because of the great economy of the mechanism. But having the both finals in a single problem with the reciprocal change, makes a wonderful idea.
Construction of any corect 2 lines of play which make a single problem is a challenge and you have imagined a pretty decent and natural play.
However, bN is an alien, obviously not necessary for any thematic reason. The twinning and bPc4 emphasize that bN is an unnatural creature here.

There are various opinions about the fairy economy but everyone should at least consistently apply his own criteria. I would personally accept that bN if it would contribute to the great economy of the idea.
But unfortunately, it spoils it 🙁

Anyway, I can always “shut one eye” and enjoy in the beautiful essential part of the content.
Therefore, thanks for creating it.